The driver market for the 2019 season is widely open especially for the midfield teams with Haas F1 Team in a prime position considering the inroads the team has made this year.
The American outfit retained their 2017 line-up of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen in 2018, but both drivers are out of contract for 2019 and beyond. The Frenchman has been part of the team since its start in 2016, while Magnussen joined last year.
The Dane has made a fine impact this year having scored 45 points already to Grosjean’s 21. The Frenchman has had a difficult season all-together even though he has shown good pace albeit even being slightly faster than Magnussen.
Even then the chances of Magnussen staying is higher than Grosjean with the team stating that they are in no hurry to sign up anyone as yet. When asked about Magnussen in particular, Guenther Steiner said: “We are not in a hurry to do the contract.
“I am very honest about it, we decided as a team [that] we [will] wait and I do not see any problems [with that].” The Italian revealed he will visit Copenhagen during the summer break for a meeting but insisted, it is more for holidaying purpose than contract.
Few races ago, Magnussen revealed Haas has an option on him, so it is unlikely he will move anywhere else. The driver market actually got further complicated with the move from Daniel Ricciardo to Renault and Lawrence Stroll buying Force India.
It is yet to be seen what implications are there but it has potentially freed up few drivers and so far it is still the case of 14 drivers in the frame for the 10 F1 seats in Force India, Williams, Haas, Sauber and McLaren outside Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso.
Meanwhile, the results on track for Haas makes it a team to compete for in 2019 and beyond. It sits fifth with 66 points in the battle for fourth with Renault ahead on 82 – being also chased by Force India (59) and McLaren (52).
The American team has improved in leaps and bounds this season, especially on tracks like Hungaroring where it didn’t do well in the previous years. This gives confidence to Steiner that they can perform well on upcoming circuits in Spa and Monza.
“On a race track [Hungaroring] where we didn’t think we were this good, at least in theory we expected it won’t be [but we scored double points], so [I am] actually looking forward to Spa and Monza,” he said.
“Those are the circuits where our car should be pretty good, so let’s see how we do [there]. We didn’t predict to be good at Hungaroring and we were, so hopefully we are good at Spa and Monza.”